Should you choose a private rental, or go through an agency?

The first decision you must make when looking for accommodation is whether to look through an agency, which offers a wide selection of options, but whose processing fees are sometimes excessive. Or should you look more closely at private housing offers offered by private individuals?

The important thing is to be wary of any proposals that are either too expensive (for example, a studio apartment at €800 per month is far too expensive for the city of Lyon), or offers which are too cheap, which could be a scam. Sometimes, it is much easier to go through an agency. However, this will increase your costs, and some practices may be fraudulent: you should never pay to get a list of available apartments, this practice is illegal!

You should consider what you want, your budget, and the availability of apartments.


Apartment-sharing allows several unrelated tenants to live together. It has many advantages, especially in terms of living expenses. The rental fees, housing tax, deposit and even food shopping costs can be shared. However, you must be prepared to live with others. There are of course many benefits to living together, but everyone is also responsible and must share expenses.

You can find examples of apartment-sharing offers on the sites or

Do not hesitate to post a request on your universities’ Facebook groups!

Public or private student housing

The Crous is a public service which offers low-rent student housing, amongst other things.A room of  9m² (100 sq. ft.) costs approximately €170 per month, all-inclusive; with a shared bathroom and kitchen. Keep in mind that the Crous accommodations are in high demand, and applications are made during the month of April preceding the start of the academic year.

A number of private student housing offers are available, with higher rents. Their advantage is that the studio apartments are often relatively new and contain everything you need.

The benefit of student accommodation is being in the heart of a student community, while having your own private space!

Solidarity housing

Apartment-sharing is for all ages! Several organizations invite students to try “intergenerational housing”, where you rent an unoccupied room in a senior citizen's home. Why? Cheaper rent and a beautiful living and sharing experience. Find out more on the organization's website Le Pari Solidaire for example.

Understanding the procedures & general advice

VISALE guarantors

To secure an apartment, you will need one or more guarantors – the guarantor agrees to pay your rent in the event that you are unable to pay. This is an additional guarantee for the landlord.

VISALE is a guarantee granted to the tenant by Action Logement, which will pay the rent and all rental expenses related to the main residence in the event that the tenant is unable to pay. This scheme makes it easier to access new accommodation, by reassuring the landlord. It replaces the CLE (Student Rental Caution) which was previously managed by the Crous and had a similar purpose.

With this guarantee, tenants can secure a home more easily by reassuring their future landlord. It is a simple, fast and free online service.
To find out if you are eligible and to apply for a VISALE, visit the website

Entering an apartment: deposit and inventory

Upon entering an apartment, each tenant must pay a deposit, equivalent to one month's rent. This amount is retained until the end of the lease and may be used if the accommodation has been damaged by the tenant. If this is not the case, it will be returned to the tenant within three months of leaving the accommodation.

It is therefore extremely important to pay attention to the inventory when you enter the apartment: before taking up occupancy, you will conduct a survey with a professional, in order to record the accommodation’s existing wear and tear. Pay close attention, as the initial inventory is usually done rather quickly, whereas the exit inventory is extremely thorough, and each defect/fault will be recorded. Therefore, it is important to make a note of all the things that seem unusual to you, no matter how small, and to record even the most minor of faults. Bring a friend or trusted person with you if you need to!

Please note that when taking up occupancy, you have several weeks to amend the inventory, if you notice any other abnormalities at the beginning of your tenancy.

Housing tax

Housing tax is a tax paid to the city. It is to be paid in November and is applicable to all the tenants who occupied the accommodation as of January 1st for that year, even if they have relocated during that year. Its amount is approximately one month's rent, but may vary depending on your accommodation and its environment, i.e. the size of the apartment, its proximity to public transport, amenities, etc. Remember to set some money aside on a regular basis in anticipation.

Home insurance

Similar to your health, it is imperative that you insure your home against various risks (weather, water damage, etc.). On average, this insurance costs less than one hundred euros per year, and can be taken out with different organizations: private insurance, banks etc.

Tenants' rights

Renting an apartment comes with responsibilities – paying the rent on time, maintaining the apartment, not causing damage, respecting neighbors – but it also comes with rights, which are sometimes overlooked. For any questions or disputes concerning your accommodation or interactions with your landlord/agency, you can get in touch with the ADIL, an organization of lawyers who will guide you and answer your questions for free.

Housing benefits: APL – Caf

The Family Allowances Office (Caf) is the organization which issues the A.P.L.(Personal Housing Allowance).This is the main type of aid offered to tenants in order to help them pay their rent. Its amount is calculated based on your financial resources, your apartment’s rental fees, its size and its location.

You can apply for an allowance online on the website.

It is important to note that the first allowance installment will not be paid immediately; you will have to wait one full month after taking up occupancy. For example, if you move in on September 15, you will have to wait until early November to receive your A.P.L., since you will have to prove one full month of occupancy; in this case, the month of October.

Employment & guidance

Useful information on student jobs

Before seeking employment, be sure to check that your residence permit allows you to work. Generally speaking, a “student” residence permit allows you to work up to 60% of the legal working hours (50% if you are from Algeria). In France, this is set at 35 hours per week.


DIRECCTE is a body that reports to the Ministry of Labor, which considers and then provides work permits for people who request them.

If you are a student, your residence permit may include the line “autorise le travail à titre accessoire” (“allowed to work part-time”). In this case, you do not have to request a permit.

For all other cases (apprenticeships, changes to your student status as an employee, etc.), you must request a permit from DIRECCTE. If you are an Algerian citizen, you must request a permit, regardless of your situation and even if you are a student.


There are several types of employment contracts in France. Please note: you are not allowed to work without signing a contract. Read it carefully before signing: it contains a number of elements governing your work (salary, holiday, terms of resignation/dismissal, etc.).

  • A temporary work contract for short, ad hoc assignments (a few hours or a few days)
  • A fixed-term contract (CDD) for short assignments (a few weeks or months) which end on a set date stipulated in the work contract.
  • An open-ended contract (CDI) for long assignments which have no pre-determined end date.

► Find out more

Finding a job

Several organizations can help you in your job hunt, and regularly issue job offers and advice. You can contact the CRIJ Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, who specialize in young people's employment. You can also visit the Jobaviz website, developed by the Crous (Centre régional des œuvres universitaires et scolaires), which features job advertisements for students.

Are you an international student? Remember your strengths: do not hesitate to look for jobs in tourism, private foreign language lessons, childcare or catering!


The French academic system enables students to change majors or to resume their studies. There are many bridges between diplomas, training programs and different ways to embark on a new educational path, with specialists there to advise you.

  • University information and support services: your institutions’ SCUIO (see your institution's website to find out more)
  • Understanding higher education in France: Campus France
  • Resource website: ONISEP



Public Transport in Lyon: TCL

Public transport is the easiest way to get around the Greater Lyon area! The public transport network serves Lyon and its surrounding areas; the various modes of transport (bus, metro and tram) make traveling around this area much easier.

There are several rates according to how frequently you travel: single tickets, ticket bundles, “evening” or “weekend” tickets; but the easiest solution is the monthly pass, which gives you unlimited access to the entire TCL network.

New in 2021: students under 28 and students with Crous scholarships will be able to borrow the TCL network at a reduced price: new rate of € 25 for 18-27 year olds or € 10 for scholarship students.

You simply need to swipe your personal card each time you use any form of public transport. To sign up for this monthly pass, contact your local public transport office (Bellecour, Grange Blanche, Part-Dieu, Gorge de Loup, La Soie) or visit the website (the TCL card itself costs €5.00).


Do you prefer traveling in the open air? Lyon is relatively well equipped for bikes; the city also offers a turnkey solution for both amateur and experienced cyclists: the Vélo’v. These self-service bicycles are available throughout the city: you can pick up your bike from one of the terminals, and then drop it off at any other collection point once you have completed your journey.

There are several options for using the Vélo’v: the ‘one-way’ ticket, which costs € 1.80, and allows you to use the Vélo'v for 30 minutes. The ‘one-day’ ticket, which costs € 4.00, and allows you to enjoy unlimited journeys for a 24 hour period, with 30 minutes free-of-charge per journey. Extra costs will be charged if you exceed 30 minutes in one journey.

There is also an annual subscription for frequent users: if you are aged between 14 and 25 years old, this costs only € 16.50 and allows unlimited use of the Vélo’v bicycles for 30 minutes per trip.

If you would rather ride your own bike, it is worth noting that there are many events such as “bike exchanges” in Lyon and its surrounding areas; in addition, there are several specialist bike repair organizations which will teach you to fix your bike yourself, and at a lower cost!

Self-service electric scooters

There are several electric scooter rental services throughout the city. These services usually work with an app that displays the location of the nearest scooters and charges your credit or debit card. You should inquire directly with the electric scooter rental service providers, as the rates and conditions of use can vary. Be sure to respect the safety rules and instructions!

Car rental

Do you occasionally need a car? Consider using a car-sharing service: you simply need to sign up to gain access to vehicles from companies such as Citiz LPA or LPA. What’s more, you can reserve your parking spot in the return station to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

There is also a carpooling platform: En Covoit 'GrandLyon supported by the Métropole de Lyon.

Tourism & leisure

Lyon and its region are full of historic and must-see places to discover! Whether you prefer the city or nature, the tourist attractions, cultural offerings and sporting opportunities will certainly surprise you. Special student memberships and rates will allow you to explore the region at a discount!